In my experience, single moms and dads can find success with new relationships in person and online through dating apps.
I've been a couples and dating coach for over a decade, and in this post, I'll share the information and tips you need to get back out there and meet the right person for you and your kids.
Why Is It So Hard to Date As a Single Parent?
Dating is hard enough even when you don't have kids. And entering the scene as a single parent comes with its unique set of challenges. Juggling parenting duties means your schedule is likely more packed than those without kids, squeezing your available time for dating to a minimum. And let's not forget the energy part – after a day filled with parental responsibilities, finding the zest for dating can be tough.
Dating after a divorce brings its own complexities. You might become more sensitive to the small details of someone's personality, highlighting both their strengths and flaws
It's a critical moment to ask yourself: am I ready to date again, and am I doing it for the right reasons?
To successfully navigate these waters, a bit of introspection can go a long way. Consider what you're truly seeking in a relationship and ensure you're stepping back into the dating world with a clear and healthy mindset.
Setting boundaries, making time for self-care, and leaning on a supportive network can not only enhance your dating journey but also enrich your personal growth. Let's face it: dating should be enjoyable, and with the right approach, it can be a rewarding adventure.
» Ask yourself these questions before dating someone with kids.
How Do You Know if You're Ready to Date Again?
No matter how your last relationship ended, you've learned something from it. So, it would be best to take some accountability to see how you can improve. Start with a thorough self-assessment by asking yourself: "Have I put in the work to become a better partner?"
Self-improvement and reflection are critical after a relationship ends. Consider the aspects of yourself that you've worked on since your last relationship. Have you become more communicative, understanding, or patient?
Reflect on how these changes not only make you a better partner but also how they align with the type of relationship you seek. It's also important to think about your readiness to be vulnerable and open with someone new. Are you ready to share your life, your fears, and your dreams with another person?
Moreover, assess your emotional state and whether you're seeking a relationship for the right reasons. It's crucial to ensure you're not just looking to fill a void left by your previous partner or to alleviate loneliness.
A healthy relationship should be about adding to your life, not compensating for something missing. Ask yourself if you're in a place where you can genuinely offer and receive love and support. If your self-assessment leads you to believe you're ready, emotionally stable, and seeking a relationship for the right reasons, then you may be prepared to venture back into the dating world.
Navigating Guilt When Dating As a Parent
Many single moms and dads may feel guilty when they start dating. But that's okay! One of the best things I've learned from my career is that you should consider your dating life as part of your self-care routine. I've worked with many clients who've struggled to make the time to take a shower or get a good night's sleep.
Prioritizing self-care allows you to recharge and be more present and engaged when you're with your children. By making time for your basic needs and recognizing dating as a component of your overall self-care strategy, you can begin to alleviate the guilt often associated with pursuing personal happiness as a parent.
» Want to embrace love after 50? Learn from our dating advice for mature women.
Balancing Your Personal Life With a New Relationship
Part of the success of dating with kids is time management. Many of my clients are people-pleasers who tend to put too much on their plate, draining their energy and making it difficult to find room for dating.
Set firm boundaries for spending time with your new partner and your children, and say "no" to things you don't want to do. Ensure you also have systems in place to help you manage your parental responsibilities, such as having a babysitter when you have a date.
How to Find Partners That Embrace Your Kids
How do you meet the right person? Well, since the US has one of the highest rates of children living in single-parent households, my best advice is to be upfront about your kids. This way, you set your expectations for the relationship and filter out people who won't work out for your family.
But this principle also applies to your children. Don't keep your personal life a secret—you should try to be open and honest with your kids and trust them to support you.
Online or Offline?
I've helped many parents nurture romantic connections online and in person. Here's how you can do the same:
Dating Online As a Single Parent
Making relationships online can be highly convenient when you have limited time and energy. All you have to do is download an app, create your profile as a single parent, and adjust your matching parameters to meet people who are open to dating someone with kids.
If you want to ease into a connection before introducing a partner to your children, try having a first date on video chat. But if you aren't sure where to start, here are a few popular dating apps for single parents:
- Stir - Best dating app overall for single parents
- Ourtime - Best for people over 50
- SilverSingles - Best for meeting senior partners
For more comprehensive lists and reviews for finding love online, check out the following:
- Best senior dating apps and sites
- Best Jewish dating apps
- Best apps for dating gay singles
- Best Muslim dating sites and apps
- Best Christians dating apps
Meeting People In Person
Although it requires you to take initiative, you can meet new people in person and date without using apps. This may sound surprising, but you don't need to go to a "specific" place to make a genuine connection—singles are everywhere!
Be open-minded, available, and willing to nurture a potential spark when outside of your comfort zone. So, keep an eye out when waiting in line at the coffee shop or grocery store, and talk to people you find interesting. You might meet a single dad who'll fully commit to you.
However, be sure to consider what you want and what your kids need. What does your date's character and lifestyle look like? For example, if you meet someone who likes to party a lot without many personal responsibilities, they may not be a good fit.
» Watch out for these red flags when dating a divorced woman.
Know What to Look For and Find Your Match Today
If you're a single parent and want to date while having kids, please know that it's absolutely possible to have a healthy and happy relationship. Stay on top of the latest online dating trends to make the most out of this new and exciting phase of life. You can even try errand dating by combining daily tasks, such as shopping, with romance.
Though tricky, you can definitely find romantic success through effective communication and setting reasonable expectations. With an open heart and mind, there's joy ahead—for you, your partner, and your children.
» Want to improve your dating game? Learn how to use flirty emojis.